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The Thirteenth StepAddiction in the Age of Brain Science$
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Markus Heilig

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231172363

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231172363.001.0001

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Turning on a Bright Light

Turning on a Bright Light

(p.104) 10 Turning on a Bright Light
The Thirteenth Step

Markus Heilig

Columbia University Press

This chapter focuses on a fundamental tenet of addiction medicine: reexposing the brain of an addicted person to a small amount of drug is one of the most powerful triggers for relapse. The phenomenon, called priming, is simply striking in countless clinical histories. Anyone can stop taking drugs with relative ease. In fact, people with addiction do it all the time. In contrast, staying sober and eliminating or at least minimizing relapse in the long run is a tremendous challenge. To successfully treat addiction, there is a need to understand what triggers relapse, what mechanisms are involved when it happens, and how we can intervene in those mechanisms to prevent relapse.

Keywords:   addiction, addictive disorder, relapse prevention, human brain, priming

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